NOAA blocks grassroots plan to save stranded whale

Whale stranded on Moriches Bay sandbar.

Whale stranded on Moriches Bay sandbar. (11/22/16)

MORICHES BAY - More than 60 people gathered Tuesday morning in Eastport to come up with a grassroots plan to save a whale that has been stranded on a sandbar in Moriches Bay for more than two days.

The residents say the Riverhead Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have not done enough to free the whale since it first became trapped Sunday morning.

"It's dying, and all I hear from everybody is 'we're observing it,'" says Tim Dahlen, of West Hampton.

Their plan to dig a hole with an excavation barge was blocked by the NOAA.

Whales are federally protected and it is illegal to get too close to one.

The Riverhead Foundation says it did try to create waves to free the animal, but the foundation says physically touching the 20-ton whale now could cause more harm than good. The foundation says it needs approval from the NOAA to have any action plan.

NOAA says veterinarians are coming from Cape Cod and North Carolina to assess the whale's condition. They will then determine an action plan to save the whale or have it euthanized.

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